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Las Vegas, you’ll either love it or hate it.

I really don’t think there are many for whom the thought of spending a week or two in Sin City inspires mediocre excitement or mild contempt. However, rest assured that, regardless of your inspiration for visiting Vegas’s bright lights and slot machines, outdoor adventure is never too far away.

Here’s our pick of five iconic natural wonders near Las Vegas that will inspire you to extend your stay in America’s Southwest.

ARCH ROCK, JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CA

DRIVING TIME FROM LAS VEGAS – 3 hours 15 minutes

Encompassing the Mojave Desert to the west and the lower Colorado Desert to the east, Joshua Tree National Park boasts some rather unusual desert flora from which it takes its name.

Hike the 0.3-mile trail out from White Tank Campground and watch as day turns to night through the 30-foot granite arch that some say looks a little like a Brontosaurus!

HALF DOME, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA

DRIVING TIME FROM LAS VEGAS – 6 hours 45 minutes

Rising almost 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is the most iconic feature of this Californian National Park.

Free-climbers have conquered its sheer vertical southwest face, but those without the nerve to battle a vast rock wall can hike the 8.2-mile Mist Trail from the valley floor to the top of the dome.

PARIA CANYON, VERMILLION CLIFFS NATIONAL PARK, AZ

DRIVING TIME FROM LAS VEGAS – 5 hours 45 minutes

On the northeastern edge of Grand Canyon National Park, sits an incredible display of Earth’s complex geology, and until just a few decades ago only a handful of people knew of its existence.

Now, if you want to visit The Wave in Paria Canyon (possibly the most photographed geological formation in the southwestern US) you’ll have to enter the permit lottery. Phenomenon is the word. Nothing else does it justice.

KEARSARGE PINNACLES, KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, CA

Source Jeff P Natural Wonders Near Las Vegas

Source Jeff P

DRIVING TIME FROM LAS VEGAS – 6 hours 18 minutes

Two contiguous national parks, big trees and vast canyons inspired the conception of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Encompassing mountain peaks, deep canyons, and mighty redwoods in their thousands, Kings Canyon National Park is a Mecca for hiking enthusiasts.

Traverse the Kearsarge Pass through Onion Valley, and camp out under the stars in the shadow of the majestic pinnacles that surround Kearsarge Lake.

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ

DRIVING TIME FROM LAS VEGAS – 4 hours

Possibly the most notable natural attraction in the entire United States, the Grand Canyon goes hand in hand with the Las Vegas experience.

While the neon lights of Sin City are juxtaposed against the splendour of the Grand Canyon’s natural form, in my mind Arizona’s geological anomaly wins the prize for most awe-inspiring. Get your guide to planning a day trip from Las Vegas here.

INSPIRED? PIN THESE TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTREST BOARDS ↓

Did you escape your Las Vegas Hotel (check out the Silverton Casino Hotel for affordable rates) and seek out a natural wonder close by? Share your favourite spots with us below!

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6 Responses

  1. Michelle

    I went on a trip to the U.S. this spring for the first time in my life and we went hiking at the Grand Canyon and also in the Yosemite National Park. We actually hiked up the 4 mile trail and had a wonderful view over the valley and the Half Dome! I absolutely loved it!

    Reply
  2. Samantha

    Born and raised in southern CA, we took a lot of summer trips. Quite often it was to Kings Canyon to see the HUGE Sequoia. They are very huge, but as a child they looked like they reached heaven. So beautiful Thanks for the wonderful childhood memories. 🙂

    Reply
    • Charli Moore

      No worries! We’re so inspired by the USA’s wealth of natural wonders, and have too many on our bucket list to name! I hope we can both make it some of the course of the next 12 months!

      Reply